Baker & Taylor
Traces the life of Mary Baker Eddy, describes the founding and beliefs of Christian Science, looks at its connection with the New Thought movement, and discusses the reasons for the church's decline
Gardner (of Scientific American fame) began this study as a short essay but extended it as his fascination with Eddy's life and personality grew. His revelations will not sit well with true believers. Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.
Blackwell North Amer
A new critical assessment of Mary Baker Eddy and the international movement she spawned is long overdue. Of the hundreds of books written about Mary Baker Eddy and Christian Science, almost all have been by believers. With the notable exception of Mark Twain's Christian Science, the small number penned by skeptics have long since gone out of print.
Martin Gardner, noted for his work in science, mathematics, philosophy, and literature, had intended to write a short essay about Mrs. Eddy, but became so fascinated by her life and personality that his work grew to book length. Written with humor, insight, and a wealth of fantastic detail, The Healing Revelations of Mary Baker Eddy will delight skeptics and infuriate true believers.
Learn about the granite replica of the Great Pyramid of Egypt that was erected on the site of Mrs. Eddy's birthplace, only to be mysteriously dynamited years later. Read about Mrs. Woodbury, who was on her way to becoming Mrs. Eddy's rival until Woodbury announced her "immaculate conception" of a child, which she named the Prince of Peace. Discover how Mrs. Stetson, once Mrs. Eddy's beloved pupil, was excommunicated when her Christian Science church in Manhattan began to outshine the Mother Church in Boston.
While Mrs. Eddy foretold the coming of a millennium in which all persons would be Christian Scientists and healthy, Gardner shows her to be a power-hungry individual whose life included spiritualism, a morphine addiction, frequent hysterical rages, and accusations of the use of "malicious animal magnetism" against herself and her followers, as well as litigation against her critics and persecution of those she regarded as disloyal.
Martin Gardner exposes the plagiarism that occurs in the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, including the early editions of Science and Health, which were so filled with errors of grammar, punctuation, and spelling, as well as attacks on fancied enemies, that the church has done everything in its power to prevent reprintings. Later editions were edited and polished by skillful writers, notably James Henry Wiggin, who thought the book was "balderdash."
Recent scandal, financial woes, the resignation of top officials and editors of church publications, and the tragic deaths of Christian Science children denied medical aid by their parents have all contributed to the rapid decline of church membership.
Mr. Gardner's final chapter places Christian Science within the context of New Thought, a movement that anticipated all the elements of today's New Age. He focuses on the life of New Thought poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox, now forgotten but once our nation's most loved versifier. She was, in Gardner's opinion, the Shirley MacLaine of her time.